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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

Polk succeeded him as the eleventh President


French war with Morocco]

[Sidenote: Hawaiian independence guaranteed]

The foreign affairs of France throughout this year were conducted by Guizot. As a result of the military occupation of Algiers, war with Morocco broke out in May. The Prince de Joinville bombarded and captured the fortified town of Mogador. Marshal Buguead won a signal victory over the Moors on the banks of Isly. After the defeat of the rebellious subjects of the Sultan of Morocco, this potentate, Abder Rahman, made common cause with the French against Abd-el-Kader. A French treaty with China was negotiated by Guizot in October. In regard to the vexed problem of Tahiti and the Hawaiian Islands an understanding was reached with the other Powers. Amends were made to England for the French indignities to the British Consul at Tahiti, while the independence of Hawaii was guaranteed by a joint declaration of France, Great Britain and the United States. Toward the close of the year the uncertainties of government in Spain were once more made manifest by a military insurrection, headed by General Zurbano.


[Sidenote: Poe's "Raven"]

At the beginning of the year, in America, came a literary sensation of unwonted brilliancy. In the New York "Evening Mirror," January 29, Edgar Allan Poe's famous poem "The

Raven" was reprinted from the advance sheets of "The American Whig Review," in which the name of the author was masked under the pseudonym of "Quarles." The poem was copied all over America and soon reached England. Baudelaire translated it into French. As Poe's biographer, Woodberry, has said: "No great poem ever established itself so immediately, so widely and so imperishably in men's minds." A literary tradition has it that Poe only received ten dollars for this masterpiece, and had to wait a year and more for his money.

[Sidenote: Texas annexed to the United States]

[Sidenote: Florida admitted to Union]

[Sidenote: James K. Polk, President]

[Sidenote: Oregon dispute settled.]

War between the United States of North America and Mexico was now seen to be inevitable. On January 25, a joint resolution for the annexation of Texas passed through the American House of Representatives by a vote of 120 to 98, and through the Senate by 27 over 25 votes. On March 1, President Tyler signed the bill. The tactics by which Texas was annexed were similar to those by which the Missouri Compromise had been forced through Congress in 1820, and the nullification compromise in 1833. It meant a distinct gain for the pro-slavery party in the United States, and was denounced as such by the abolitionists of the North. Both in Mexico and in the United States active preparations were now made for war. American ships were still welcomed in the ports of Mexico, the more so since many of them brought needed munitions of war. In the United States strenuous efforts were made to settle all pending differences with other countries. In February, Great Britain had already accepted the forty-ninth parallel as a boundary line agreeable to the governments of both countries, and soon the Oregon boundary dispute was likewise settled by treaty. Caleb Cushing's treaty with China was ratified by the Senate. Florida was admitted into the Union on March 3, the day before Tyler ceased to be President. James K. Polk succeeded him as the eleventh President. He had represented Tennessee in the House for fourteen years, serving twice as Speaker. Having declined the re-election to Congress, he was chosen Governor of his State. His nomination to the Presidency had been brought about by accident. Immediately after his inauguration, Polk appointed James Buchanan as his Secretary of State. Polk in his inaugural address suggested a settlement of the Oregon boundary dispute with England on the line of 54 deg. 40'. The Democratic platform of 1844 had declared: "Fifty-four-forty, or fight." In other words, both Great Britain and the United States claimed the country on the Columbia River. When Calhoun proposed a line of boundary along the forty-ninth degree of latitude, the British Ministry made a counter proposition, accepting the line to the summit and thence along the Columbia River to the Pacific. Despite much talk of war, Calhoun's successor in the end accepted the British proposition of a boundary along the line of forty degrees, continuing to the ocean.

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